Congress votes to end US support for Yemen war, rebuffing Trump

House invokes War Powers Resolution for the first time

TOPSHOT - US Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, speaks during a press conference following a vote in the US House on ending US military involvement in the war in Yemen, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 4, 2019. / AFP / SAUL LOEB
Powered by automated translation

The US Congress on Thursday voted to end American involvement in the Yemen war, rebuffing the Trump administration's support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia.

Congress for the first time invoked the War Powers Resolution to try to stop a foreign conflict.

The measure now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to veto it, with the White House saying it had "serious constitutional concerns."

Congress lacks the votes to override Mr Trump.

House approval came on a 247-175 vote. The Senate vote was 54-46 on March 13.

"The president will have to face the reality that Congress is no longer going to ignore its constitutional obligations when it comes to foreign policy," said Democrat Eliot Engel, chairman of the House foreign affairs committee.

Yemen is in its fifth year of conflict, a situation the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The top Republican on the committee, Michael McCaul of Texas, acknowledged the dire situation in Yemen for civilians, but spoke out in opposition to the bill, saying it was an abuse of the resolution.

"This radical interpretation has implications far beyond Saudi Arabia," Mr McCaul said.

He said the measure could "disrupt US security co-operation agreements with more than 100 countries".

Democrats overcame a Republican attempt to divide the majority party through a procedural motion involving Israel just minutes before the Yemen vote.

Republicans wanted to amend the Yemen bill with language condemning the international boycott movement and efforts to delegitimise Israel.

Democrats said that the amendment would kill the Yemen resolution, and most of them voted against the Israel measure.